How and when you harvest your tomatoes can have a big impact on the total yield from the tomato plant. We all want to get as many tomatoes from our plants as possible and to get the best yield possible, we need to know how harvesting affects production. Will Tomato Plants Keep Producing After You Harvest?
Some tomato plants keep producing fruit and can be harvested often and some tomato plants stop producing fruit after they are harvested. The tomato plants that keep producing fruit are categorized as indeterminate and the tomato plants that can only be harvested one time are categorized as determinate.
In this article, you will learn exactly how long tomato plants keep producing fruit, how often you can harvest, how to tell if your plants are determinate or indeterminate as well as what type is best for you and what to do with your plants at the end of the season.
How Long Do Tomato Plants Keep Producing Fruit?
Many things can affect the overall yield of a tomato plant. Sunlight and water are crucial ingredients for a tomato plant to thrive and produce fruit but there is one thing that, more than anything else, determines how long a tomato plant keeps producing fruit.
The most important thing that determines how long tomato plants keep producing fruit is whether those plants are determinate or indeterminate. Here is what that means:
|Determinate tomato plants||Indeterminate tomato plants|
|Will only grow to a certain size and only produce one harvest.||Keep growing and producing fruit for the entire season until frost comes.|
Determinate tomato plants only produce fruit for a very limited amount of time but will usually provide enough tomatoes for a large harvest.
Indeterminate tomato plants produce tomatoes over a much longer period of time and can be harvested very often throughout the growing season but they will not provide as large harvests as determinate plants.
If you live in an area where you never get frost, indeterminate plants can grow and produce fruit all year.
Determinate tomato plants will generally reach maturity and start producing fruit faster than indeterminate plants but the overall yield of indeterminate plants is usually significantly larger than the yield from determinate plants but it will be spread out over a much longer period of time.
How Many Times Can You Harvest a Tomato Plant?
How many times you can harvest a tomato plant depends entirely on what plant you have and especially whether it is determinate or indeterminate.
Determinate tomato plants generally have one good, large harvest in them. They will produce almost all of the fruit over a short period of time and will generally not produce any more fruit after they are harvested.
Like I wrote earlier in this post, indeterminate tomato plants can be harvested very often throughout the growing season and harvesting often is actually a very good thing to do since removing the ripe tomatoes will promote the growth of new tomatoes as it allows the plant to spend energy on that rather than on maturing the ripe tomatoes further.
During the warmest, most sunny weeks of the summer, some large indeterminate tomato plants can provide fresh tomatoes almost daily.
I personally prefer indeterminate tomato plants since I really enjoy being able to pick and eat a couple of fresh, homegrown tomatoes every day and rarely need them in very large quantities at the same time but what is right for you can be completely different.
What To Do With Tomato Plants At The End Of The Season
Tomato plants thrive in the warm, sunny summer months and will grow and produce fruit rapidly but once frost comes, it is over. Tomato plants cannot survive frost so make sure you harvest all your tomatoes in time when the temperature gets too low and your plants start to wither.
If you live in a warm and sunny place, you might actually be able to keep your tomato plants alive for several years. Those of us that get cold winters, though, usually have to plant new tomatoes every year. You can learn more about that in the article on this link where I share some tips on how to keep your tomato plants alive for as long as possible.
If you have an indeterminate variety, chances are it will still have some green tomatoes on it at the end of the season. Make sure you harvest all of them as they can be used for several purposes such as pickling them or using them for sauces.
I usually like to put all the green tomatoes I have at the end of a season on a large plate and place it by a window where they can still get some sunlight without being outside in the cold weather. This can often be enough for some of them to ripen even though they have been picked.
Just because a plant is starting to become yellow or dry, it does not mean you should remove it right away. Some varieties are much more resistant than others and can still produce fruit after the plant itself starts to wither. Just make sure you harvest before the frost comes.